There are nearly 7.1 billion people on the planet. Here we mention 10 of those who matter the most. They’re all featured on Forbes’ ranking of the World’s Most Powerful People – an annual look at the heads of state, financiers, philanthropists and entrepreneurs who truly run the world.
Top 10 Most Powerful People in the world
10. Emmanuel Macron
Macron is at the helm of Europe’s third largest economy after winning a landslide victory in the 2017 election against populist Marine Le Pen.
9. Larry Page
Larry Page sits at the helm of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, healthcare division Calico, smart home appliance division Nest and more.
He cofounded Google in 1998 with fellow Stanford Ph.D. student Sergey Brin.
Page was Google’s first CEO until 2001. After serving as president of products, he took the CEO job again in 2011.
8. Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud
Crown Prince, Saudi Arabia
His father remains king of Saudi Arabia, but the crown prince has consolidated power beyond any doubt and taken control of the country.
The crown prince will be the fulcrum around which the Middle Eastern geopolitics moves for the next generation.
7. Bill Gates
Cofounder, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
With his wife Melinda, Bill Gates chairs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private charitable foundation. To date, Gates has donated $35.8 billion worth of Microsoft stock to the Gates Foundation. Gates’ post-Microsoft mission includes eliminating many infectious and deadly diseases: By his own estimates, that could translate into 8 million lives saved by 2020. But the quintessential activist billionaire doesn’t stop there: Gates continues to persuade his peers to sign the “Giving Pledge,” promising to give away half their wealth or more.
6. Pope Francis
Pope, Roman Catholic Church
The Pope Francis is the spiritual leader to more than one-sixth of the world’s population, 1.3 billion people.
5. Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos founded e-commerce colossus Amazon in 1994 out of his garage in Seattle. He remains CEO and owns a 16% stake.
He and his wife, MacKenzie, who are divorcing after 25 years of marriage, announced in April that he will transfer 4% of Amazon to her.
When the divorce goes through, likely in July, MacKenzie will get tens of billions worth of Amazon stock, making her one of the world’s richest women.
In 2018, Amazon pulled in $230 billion in revenues and a record $10 billion in net profit, up from $3 billion the prior year.
In February, Amazon announced it was canceling plans for a second headquarters in Long Island City, New York after local lawmakers opposed the plan.
Bezos owns The Washington Post and Blue Origin, an aerospace company that is developing a rocket for commercial use.
4. Angela Merkel
Merkel became the first female Chancellor of Germany in 2005 and is serving her fourth term. In November Merkel stepped down as leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and announced she wouldn’t seek another term as chancellor in 2021.
The world’s most powerful woman is the backbone of the 27-member European Union and carries the fate of the euro on her shoulders. Merkel’s hard-line austerity prescription for easing the European debt crisis has been challenged by both hard-hit southern countries and the more affluent north, but it, and she, are still standing.
3. Donald Trump
President, United States
Donald Trump became the first billionaire president of the United States. The first time an American president hold third position in list of most powerful people, otherwise they always top.
2. Vladimir Putin
Voted the world’s most powerful person four times between 2013 and 2016, Russia’s president has exerted his country’s influence around the world.
1. Xi Jinping
General Secretary, Communist Party of China.
The leader of the world’s most populated country and second largest economy (GDP), Xi Jinping top the list of most poerful people in the world. Xi Jinping holds a firm grasp on China’s only political party.
The man who is likely to lead China for the next decade was recently promoted to the Communist Party’s top position; Xi also took over as chairman of the Party’s Central Military Commission, putting him in control of the world’s largest army. His rise to power will be complete in March, when he takes over for Hu Jintao as president and head of state. Xi’s only half of a Chinese power couple: His wife, Peng Liyuan, is a superstar folk singer.
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